So we’re downsizing. 

“Our house is over-taxed and under-used,” I said to Mr. Wonderful.

“But I love it here,” he said.

“We have to hire people now to do everything we used to enjoy doing,” I explained.

“But moving is so stressful,” he groaned.

“We’ve got an attic full of stuff that the kids won’t want,” I added.

“Sure they will!,” he exclaimed.

Discussion ended. We made a list and we set to task.

We hired a painter to “touch up” a few spots in the living room. “You might be better off painting the whole room,” he said, pointing to ceiling drywall seams that had loosened, windowsills that looked like “before” photos at the local nail salon, and chipped paint on the wall behind where Old Tannenbaum stood, wired to the window frame, so it stayed upright for the entire yuletide season. 


“It probably makes sense to pave the driveway,” Mr. W. said. For the past 20 years we’ve had a gravel driveway. Every Winter, most of that gravel got snowplowed into the flowerbeds, requiring a new load every Spring. In the Summer, the sharp gravel stones lacerated your feet if you walked barefoot to get the mail. “We’ve never like the gravel anyway,” I said.


“There’s that creaky board on the front porch — right at the top of the steps,” I said. “Let’s have Fez fix that.” Our handyman Fez, who can do everything, replaced several boards. Then we realized he should probably repaint the entire porch floor. “It’ll look better,” I said to Mr. W.

Since he was here at the house anyway, I asked Fez to fix the faucet in the guest room bath that’s been leaking for a year. We noticed that the insulation in the attic needed shoring up, the wire gate to my Victory Garden was disintegrating, and the window box on the tool shed needed to be replaced. “All done!” Fez announced recently.


Two years ago a chipmunk gnawed his way through a screen on the porch, then spent a full day and night romping around our first floor until we finally caught the little bastard and relocated him to a neighbor’s yard. My “temporary” fix of the hole had been a 2’x2’ piece of plywood that I wedged against the screen and which was about as effective as the Maginot Line. “Uh, Fez, can you mend that screen?”

Our to-do list grew. “The cabinets in the laundry room need new magnets to stay closed,” I said. “That shade in the upstairs bedroom has been broken for five years. Fez, can you handle that?”

Everything was starting to look ship-shape! But the list kept growing.

One of the Halogen overhead floodlights in the basement burned out nine months ago and needed replacement. The shower curtains in every bath desperately called for new liners. The latch on the door to the deck wouldn’t lock. “All done,” Fez said.

“We can’t forget the window washers,” I said. “You think we really need them?” Mr. W. asked. “It’s been two or three years,” I said.


Today, everything works. Everything that needed to be painted has been. Everything’s clean. The house looks fabulous. 

“Why did we wait so long to do all this stuff?” I asked Mr. W. 

He won’t answer me!